10 Tips On The Making Of An Adventurer

The On A Dime gang is a motley crew of adventurers that consists of parents, kids, cousins, friends, and really anyone willing to throw in gas money – on a whim – for a trip to Death Valley or a rain forest full of slugs. We feel your envy and just know you are wondering, “how do I become like them? The few, the proud, the guileless”.

View of Half Dome
View of Half Dome

Adventurers are born, of this we’re fairly certain. The very first adventure, walking, seems to be the result of an overwhelming desire to escape from the fans that first encouraged with “come on, walk to Daddy” and then followed up weeks later with “get down, now!”

None of us would ever get down if we had the choice but the child mortality rate would also soar were we left to our own devices. Striking a delicate balance in the making of an adventurer can prove elusive and this mom – in unraveling the mystery – has been ’round and ’round the mulberry tree or should we say Mc Donalds drive-through. The mulberries were organic and dished out to child #1 but by child #3, we were charting which Happy Meal toy week it was.

The first on a dime children were three girls that were not allowed nail polish until middle school – and then when we gave in, it was only to grass-fed nail polish. By the time #4 (a boy) landed on planet earth, most of the grass-fed goals had been replaced by the steely determination to turn the kids into “adventurers” – kids that would leave our side and allow us to sleep for four hours straight.

Adventure training had begun. It spanned many years and utilized these 10 steps.

1) Just Say Yes – This theory would cause a baby powder explosion all over the driveway that was defended as a “science experiment”. The “yes” model also allowed for one child’s conviction that he was a werewolf and traveled the neighborhood every full moon (dead serious and this phase lasted about a year). The sisters encouraged the werewolf stage as they hoped he’d leave on the weekends they had friends sleeping over.

2) Just Say No – When child #2 – voted most obstinate by the other three obstinates (this should be a word) – casually sauntered in one day from the pet store with a cute four-inch lizard on her forearm, this mom inquired as to the kind of lizard it was. The rest of the exchange went like this…

Obstinate Child (in disguise as a sweet child) – Iguana

Distracted Mom – Don’t those get big? Do they need a cage?

Obstinate Child – I’m sure we can get one on Craig’slist for $10 and I’ll walk it on a leash.

Alert Mom – Leash?

At this point, Google was fired up and revealed that Iguanas grow to six feet, head to tail, and are known to use said tail to whip those that irritate them. If they’d have been trainable, the whipping tail might’ve been a selling point. “No” was the answer to the Iguana adventure.

3) Follow The Rules – And the kids do. They would never duplicate – in the forest – the illegal campfire set on the beach in Malibu. We like to think adventurers learn to be fierce about safety and protecting the environment and abide by rules that have rangers welcome them with open arms. Beach patrol, not so much.

4) Break The Rules – And the kids do. But only when it involves managed-adventure as in skydiving a wee bit before the suggested (posted) limit with an older adventurer who was not yet aware of the power of social media. New reality show, The Moms Of Department Of Children’s Services and yeah, I’ll never get a job as a nanny for any authors of parenting books.

The daughter in this photo made the age limit

5) Be Fearless – After years spent watching too much news, this on a dimer opted out. Statistically (and speaking from experience), debt anxiety and Happy Meal toy excursions are much more dangerous than walking a trail into the wild. Do not take our word for it, look up stats for what the biggest dangers are and we can guarantee that hiking (even in the dark) is not on the same list as texting while driving.

6) Be Prepared – Adventurers the world over, prepare. They don’t happen overnight, they read, learn, ask for advice, and then make calm, rational decisions. The word adventure does not have to be synonymous with impulsive. Join your kids in discussions about safety and be open to learning from them. And if you are as lucky as this wayward trailblazer, your kids will yell “Mom, the trail is over here! You are wandering again!” Uhm hello, that’s why they call it “trailblazer”.

At the top, in honor of Kevin Cordasco and Courage*Strength*Believe
At the top of Mt. Whitney, in honor of Kevin Cordasco and Courage*Strength*Believe

7) Hold On – Only to their hands when they are little and pull you into the land of adventure and only to your emotions when they are big and strike out on their own.

8) Let Go – Of their hands when they are big and your emotions when they fly. And by “let go”, we mean go ahead and have tears just like this mom did when the baby daughter (18 yrs.) walked through security and onto a plane, heading off to backpack Europe. A year ago she announced that she was saving money for an epic trip and one of her parents  (cough, cough) responded absently with “that’s sweet, honey”, never thinking she’d work two jobs and tutor and babysit and save over $6,000. Good grief – at her age – saving $6 would’ve been a success for this mom.  Well, she pulled it off and now is headed – with a cousin – to 8 countries, in 7 weeks and will couchsurf and stay in hostels. **Update, she made it and had a blast!

9) Ache – For the memories of their sweet sleeping faces all under one roof and for the moment they’ll return and awe you with what they’ve seen and been a part of.

10) Rejoice – For the memories in the making of all of the amazing things they are taking on. You have been their comfort zone and now they are ready to be a little uncomfortable in the name of adventure. Uncomfortable can be a most stunning state of being, a state to rejoice and revel in. May uncomfortable become familiar and may it continue on and on.

And continuing in the name of adventure; if you wish to strike out of your comfort zone, rest assured that you are in good company. This on a dime adventurer never hiked a trail until the 40s and a solo/ nighttime ascent of Mt. Whitney was tackled with fear and trepidation but navigated with reverence for a world only dreamt of previously.

Adventurers are not created, they are born. Born to be bold. Perhaps the greatest gift we can offer our kids, others, and ourselves is the reminder to leave the comfort zone, be bold, and to not get down.

If you wish, “like” it/share it on FB and/or Tweet it. Deeply grateful. <3

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